When I saw the title "Rayman Origins", I thought it was a remake of the first game. However, it's a new game but goes back to its old 2D roots. The game is incredibly beautiful, using Ubisoft's UbiArt Framework engine.
There are two types of level – standard platforming, and side-scrolling shooter. Each level shows a medallion which illustrates how many Electoons (caged creatures) have been collected on that level, and if you have completed the Time Trial challenge. There's an Electoon cage at the end of the level, in addition to a few hidden throughout the level. Playing certain levels are restricted until you collect a certain amount of Electoons.
The standard levels, you navigate through the levels in typical platforming style, defeating enemies by bouncing on their heads, or throwing a punch. The shooting levels sees Rayman riding a mosquito. The mosquito can shoot in addition to inhaling an enemy to use as a powerful projectile. Regardless of the type of level, they will be split into sections which act as checkpoints. Rayman can only take one hit, but can pick up a heart vial which allows you to take an additional hit. It's much like the Tiki masks in Crash Bandicoot.
You start only being able to sprint and jump, but you eventually unlock new abilities, such as gliding through the air, and running up walls and swimming. You can unlock characters to play as other than Rayman but the majority of them are just simple palette swaps and they aren't as interesting as the title character.
On your way through the levels, you will collect Lums and you are awarded Electoons at the end of the level for passing certain thresholds. I often just missed out on the higher threshold which was annoying. Yellow Lums are the basic collectible, but collecting a Lum King turns some Lums red which are then worth two yellow Lums. There are Skull Coins placed in hidden or more dangerous areas which are worth 25 Lums.
There are a few boss fights which involve punching a weak spot which appears at certain times. Some of the bosses, particularly towards the end, are quite unfair; resorting to trial and error. In fact, there's a lot of normal levels that rely on trial and error towards the end of the game. This is a shame, because the difficulty and games design seems great, and then becomes frustrating in the final moments.